Skip to main content

tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  October 4, 2009 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

2:00 pm
iran -- will talks push that country to give up its nuclear weapons program. >> if iran does not live up to its obligation, then the united states will not continue to negotiate indefinitely. >> our exclusive guest this morning, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rice. and then the economy. unemployment edges towards a staggering 10%. despite the massive stimulus, where are the jobs? >> today's job report is a sobering reminder that progress comes in fits and starts and we're going to need to grind out this recovery. step by step. >> plus, prospects fade for a public option as part of the health care plan. and the president goes for the gold, but comes home empty handed. the 2016 games to be held in rio, not chicago. strong opinions about what it all means.
2:01 pm
"new york times" columnist david brooks, washington post columnist e.j.dionne, msnbc's rachel maddow and republican strategist mike murphy. finally, remembering safire who appeared on this program 99 times throughout the course of his career. times throughout the course but fist, news about iran in this morning's newspapers. "the new york times" reports they may be closer to producing a nuclear weapon than originally thought. it comes as the chief weapons inspector arrived in tehran and met with mahmoud ahmadinejad. what does it all mean for the administration's efforts to negotiate with iran? here with us live, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rice. welcome. >> good to be with you. >> let's get to this new york times report this morning. the report says iran has the
2:02 pm
data make a nuclear bomb. staff members have concluded in a confidential analysis iran has acquired sufficient information to design and produce a workable atom bomb. the work by experts in the iaea stresses in its introduction that its conclusions are tentative, subject to further confirmation of the evidence, which it says came from intelligence agencies and its own investigations. but the report's conclusions described by senior u.n. officials go well kbrond the positions taken by several government, including the united states. firstoff, does the u.s. concur with these conclusions? >> well, david, i'm not going to get into characterizing the substance of a confidential report or our own intelligence, but suffice it to say our whole approach is predicated on an urgent need to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capacity. last week, we presented iran with a very plain choice. prove to our sats fx that their
2:03 pm
program is, as they claim, for peaceful purposes. and open up their facilities to inspections, freeze their uranium enrichment program, commit as they have done and follow through on that commitment to provide fuel for enrich. outside of the country -- >> but they have the know-how to make a bomb? >> i'm not in a position to characterize that report or our own intelligence. but whether they have it now, seek it or obtain it down the road, we are very focused on preventing that from occurring. >> why can't you say when you think they're going to have it or thif they have it now? >> there are various assessments and they don't all align. but iran with nuclear weapons would pose a great threat to u.s. national security and security of allies and partners in the region. that's why we're determined to take the steps necessary -- >> but given the deadline of september, what is the deadline for iran to either put up, negotiate away its nuclear potential, or face consequences?
2:04 pm
>> we're very much in a period of intense negotiations now. what happened last week was a constructive beginning, but it was only a beginning, david. the onus is squarely on iran to adhere to the commitments it has made. if it doesn't, time is short. we're not interested in talking for talking sakes. they have to demonstrate conclusively that their program is for peaceful purposes. >> you talk about the potential for consequence. you won't negotiate indefinitely. the question is, how much leverage does the u.s. really have. charles krauthammer is skeptical. do the tally. in return for selling out poeld and the czech republic, by unilaterally abgaiting --
2:05 pm
>> this is cat and mouse game? >> no. look, russia, china, france, britain, germany and the presen stark choice. either they give up their program, or they succumb to pressure. that's agreed upon position. now, it's that russia and china have ris torically resisted sanction s but we have moved thm just recently on north korea. we now have in place with their
2:06 pm
unanimous support the toughest security council sanctions on any country in the world. we're united in presenting this choice to iran, and iran now has the responsibility either to adhere to its obligations internationally or face -- >> what crippling sanctions are you considering? what kind of pressure against iran if they don't -- >> there are a range of sanctions, david, under consideration. there are those we might pursue multilateral multilaterally. there are others we could do outside the security council with partners in europe and elsewhere, and then there are those that we can take by ourselves unilaterally. there's a wide range. >> economic sanctions? >> economic and otherwise. right now we're in a period of associations. >> we have some milestones th
2:07 pm
that -- >> the president said september. a. >> we said we would take stock in september. now we have some deadlines that the iranians themselves just committed to. they will meet october 19 at the expert level to discuss the tehran research reactor. that's an important step. the iaea director today confirmed that on october 25, the reactor will be open to iaea inspections. we will look and see if those steps are indeed serious. if not, we are on a two-track posture. >> you talk about the engagement with iran. most americans think about the hostage crisis back in 1979. if i interview you a year from now, what would you like to be able to say about the u.s.
2:08 pm
relationship with iran? >> i would like to say that we are on track to conclusively prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capacity. you know, we've had many years, david, adrapt where we've refused to engage in negotiations. they have pursued their enrichment program unabated and we haven't been able to put in tougher sanctions. we have unity among the p-5. >> what's the relationship the u.s. would like to have with iran? >> well, obviously, the optimal outcome is an iran without nuclear weapons. that is peacefully integrated into the international community that no longer poses a threat to its neighbors, no longer supports terrorisms, treats its people with respect, and allows them to participate peacefully in a democratic process. that's the iran we hope to see. iran and the people of iran have a tremendous history. and a great opportunity to be much more constructive players in the international community or they face another choice.
2:09 pm
that's up to them. we hope that iran would be in a position where it can be a responsible player. >> let's turn to afghanistan and other breaking news overnight. insurgents storming an outpost, killing eight u.s. soldiers. back in august, the president addressed the topic of afghanistan and this is what he said. >> this isn't a war of choice. this is a war of necessity. '. >> why wouldn't he immediately grant the request of his commanders to resource this war of necessity? >> let me point out what has been and remains our objective here. the objective, david, is to prevent al qaeda from being in position to launch attacks on the homeland again. our goal is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda and prevent it from obtaining safe haven to come attack us as they did on 9/11.
2:10 pm
he said in march when he laid out a policy that after the afghan elections in august, we would review where we are. we would review the goal, the methods, and the resources needed to obtain them. in the interim, we've had several things happen. we've had general mccrystal come in with his assessment of the situation on the ground. he has said the taliban is gaining in strength and we have a somewhat deteriorating security situation in afghanistan. we've had progress in pakistan, critically important, political security and even economic progress. and at the same time, we've had an election in afghanistan, which has not lived up to the hopes and expectations of the afghan people. we are now in a process that i'm part of, which is a very responsible process to assess where we are, how the circumstances now affect our strategic goals, and what methods and resources we need to obtain them. that is a responsible, necessary -- >> that may be the case, but the question i asked is, if this is a war of necessity as the
2:11 pm
president has said, then why would he not immediately grant the wishes of his commanders to fully resource what is a war of necessi necessity, toe fully resource, which is the promise made by presidential aides. >> we are fully resourcing it. we have put into place 21,000 additional troops. they are still completing their deployment. we have increased the number of civilians and we've increased the financial resources to afghanistan and pakistan substantially. the president has to make a judgment based not only on the military assessment of his commander on the ground, also the inputs of his diplomats, his ambassad ambassadors. he has to look at the military, the security situation. we have nato partners involved, we also have pakistan next door, which is critically important to this equation. and the entire global effort to fight and defeat al qaeda. the president as commander-in-chief has to look at more than what is happening in a single theatre. he has to look at what is necessary to advance our goal of defeating al qaeda globally.
2:12 pm
and that's clearly a very important theatre. we're going to do what's necessary to accomplish our goal in afghanistan. but we're not going to do it without having taken stock, without going through a comprehensive and responsible assessment where all voices are heard. and the president makes a judgment. there's no decision more serious, david, then a putting more americans into harm's way. the president will do what is necessary to keep america safe. but he's going to do it after a thoughtful and thorough analysis. >> general mccrystal said this speaking to military specialists in london about the difference in views from the national security team about whether you go in with kind of a lighter footprint, without committing more forces, just focus on counterterrorism. this is what he said earlier this week. >> a strategy that does not leave afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy. >> is the president committed to
2:13 pm
at least not leaving afghanistan unless it is stable? >> the president is committed to doing what is essential to keep america safe. obviously we've made important investments in afghanistan. nobody is talking about walking away from afghanistan. >> until it is stable? >> the president will do what is necessary to keep america safe, and that relates not only to afghanistan but pakistan where we face a -- >> you're committed to staying until it's snaf. >> as long as it takes to keep america safe. >> but those could be two different things? >> there are challenges and threats that face the united states from multiple things. >> they could be two different things? >> i'm not going to preduj tjude outcome of this review. it's an important step that needs to be taken to ensure we're not just reacting and operating on autopilot. the president's responsibility
2:14 pm
to the american people is to look fat what's involved. we're doing all question to prevent al qaeda from being in a position to attack us, whether it be from afghanistan, pakistan, somalia, southeast asia and other place where is we' been active and on the offensive against al qaeda? >> is the political pressure from the left not to escalate against the war? >> absolutely not. this is a president who's going to do what's necessary, irrespective of politics to protect the american people. >> in the short amount of time left, going for the gold in copenhag copenhagen. was it a mistake for the president to go out on the world stage and be rebuffed by the ioc and not bring the games home? >> it's never a mistake for the president of the united states to be willing to fight and compete on behalf of our country, and that's what he did. and he would do it again in a nanosecond. this was about competing with three other compelling
2:15 pm
candidacies for the olympics and bringing that home to the united states. the day i'll get concerned is when we have a president in the white house who refuses to fight for the united states and compete because he's concerned about pun kdits or political criticism. >> finally, talking about the united nations, the body where you're now serving as our ambassador. recently during the u.n. general assembly in new york, americans sue this kind of parade of anti-americanism. you see chavez of venezuela, ahmadinejad of iran and gadhafi who may still be speaking as far as we know. you once said the u.n. is imperfect, but it's also indispensable. when you look at that showing, what is the indispensable part? >> david, there are 192 countries in the united nations. you pick out three that provided barroom drama during the course of the general assembly. the united nations is a
2:16 pm
critically important to our national security because it is the one place that we can marshall with the force of law to commit other nations to do things we need to protect our security. for example, when we got the security council last june to pass the toughest sanctions on the books today against any country in the world, north korea, we got something that was much more powerful than anything we would muster on our own. we are not able, given transnational threats, terrorism, climate change pandemic, to tackle these alone. no one is. we need to marshall the active support of others. now, sometimes the u.n. falls short. it doesn't do all that we want it to do. things like proliferation and terrorism, we have seen progress come from the united nations
2:17 pm
when we can get them to come together and pressure countries like north korea to do what is necessary to keep us and others safer. >> ambassador, susan rice, good luck with your work and thank you very much. up next, unemployment rises while prospects for a public option on health care fall. all the way while, the president makes a failed by for the 2016 olympics in chicago. what it all means. our "round table." plus, our "meet the press minute."
2:18 pm
2:19 pm
2:20 pm
our special round table weighs in on health care, iran, afghanistan and the economy.
2:21 pm
we know why we're here. to build a new generation of airplanes to connect the world. airplanes that fly cleaner and farther on less fuel. and make nonstop travel possible to more places. announcer: around the globe, the people of boeing are working together-- to bring us together. that's why we're here. almost 30 years behind the sports desk has turned me into somebody larger than life, literally. but those days are back-back-back-back-back gone! i'm chris berman, and i lost 41 pounds with nutrisystem. get results with nutrisystem for men.
2:22 pm
i tried to lose weight, i really did, but nothing worked. so i called the coach, don shula. he didn't need any game film. he said, "berman, you need nutrisystem for men. you lose weight by eating great-tasting meals." another great call by the coach. just order nutrisystem for men today to get four weeks of awesome food, and learn how to get three extra weeks free. putting on the weight is easy, but with nutrisystem, losing weight is even easier. the secret is the glycemic advantage, a science that separates good carbs from bad, so you can eat the foods you love. i can eat pizza, lasagna, meatloaf -- whoop! i love this food. nutrisystem for men is a program any guy can do. let's go to the highlights. mike "all i ate was golic bread": down, 51 pounds. don "blue suede" shula: down 32 pounds. dan "glam man" marino: lost 22 pounds. guys, you can do this. you'll get four weeks of satisfying meals
2:23 pm
for less than 12 bucks a day. that's 140 rib-sticking meals. my goal was 40 pounds, and look, he could...go...all...the...way! if i can lose the weight, you can lose the weight. order our four-week men's program now and you can get an extra 21 breakfasts, 21 lunches, 21 snacks, 21 dinners, and 21 desserts, an extra three weeks of food free! even the shipping is free. here's the swami's prediction: you will lose weight with nutrisystem for men. pick up the phone and change your life. that's 105 meals free. call or click now. all right, we're joined now
2:24 pm
by our powerful "round table." roy murphy, e.j.dionne and rachel maddow. i wanted to start on afghanistan. i thought ambassador rice was interesting on this point. this question of whether the u.s., whether this president is committed to keeping america safe in terms of afghanistan or staying there until afghanistan is actually stable. i think this is important. this is what the president said. >> this is not only a war worth fighting, this is fundamental to the defense of our people. >> fund. al to the defense of our people, david brooks. a war of necessity. will this president make good on those pledges with the decision he'll make on troops? >> i actually think he will. >> he had this long meeting in the white house, 18 people in the situation room for 3 1/2 hours. they were looking at all the options. i think they'll look at what's worked to defeat
2:25 pm
counterinsurgency. there's only one thing that's worked, and that's what mccrystal is suggesting, protecting the population. they're redefining the standard. the standard you might call the al qaeda standard. that standard is, well, the taliban can take over, that's fine, as long as al qaeda doesn't come back. if the people who want to get out are redefining the war as a taliban victory is acceptable to us -- >> rachel maddow, i asked about the politics and she had none of it, saying this is not a political consideration. they've met with the historias.s >> i think there's a willingness on the democratic side to allow some time. you see these accusations of ditdit ditdithering that it needs to go dpaster and faster. liberals and democrats believe in policy, governments can make
2:26 pm
constructive decisions about processes in the world that governments can now fix. we're entering year nine. as much as insurgency says you've got to stick with it and protect the population, it doesn't say much about how to wave a counterinsurgency, starting in year nine of a war you' been in this long. >> where's the public? the public is not engaged in fighting in afghanistan indefinitely. the president knows that. >> right, the politics are awful. the real choice is buyaire. -- binary. you either leave or triple down. we know the way that works in counterinsurgency theory is to flood the place with american troops. in the shorm term that will be a victory militarily. but back home it's a huge price to pay for the president. they're trying to romance into a third way. there's some more troops but not a lot more troops. that's a critical mistake. you have to be all the way in or all the way out or the politics are going to kill you.
2:27 pm
victory is the one solution. >> i think that's the critical mistake. you know, you cast it as a choice. if you don't do what general mccrystal says, you're abandoning the place. they don't want a commitment that's going to last five years, involve 100,000 troops and cost $1 trillion. we went to war in iraq, ignored afghanistan for six years. general mccrystal's own report is very candid. if you want to do counterinsurgency right, you need good governance. he talks about all the problems with governance and corruption and unresponsiveness in afghanistan. the president's original commitment back in march was to disrupt and defeat al qaeda. and that's part of our interest in afghanistan. >> that's a terrible change. first of all, the taliban would take over which would be a moral atrocity. and secondly, what we're really
2:28 pm
fighting here is pakistan. >> pakistan is going better now -- >> the pashtun movement is affecting -- we redefine victory so we control al qaeda -- >> if we're trying to present some sort of solution that invites us supplanting the taliban, the taliban would otherwise take over so we're not there. what sort of solution is that for afghanistan? ultimately we can't win a counterinsurgency for the afghan people. what they say is good luck if you're a third party country in if you're doing this. afghanistan needs to run a counterinsurgency. >> we don't have a reliable partner. >> that's the point mccrystal makes in his document. the only way to build afghans in the situation where we can win a counterinsurgency war is to win the population. the only way to win the population is guaranteed security. that means a hell of a lot more troops. that's the only strategy to stabilize afghanistan.
2:29 pm
the other strategy, get all the way out. the politics of getting all the way out are really bad. the politics of doing what you have to do to win are really bad. there's no easy path for the obama administration. >> from the very serious and the dire to something on a lighter note that makes a serious point about this priority and what the president has accomplished or has not yet accomplished and we turn toe an incredible source and that is "saturday night live." watch. >> almost one year and nothing show for it. you don't believe me? you think i'm making it up? take a look at this checklist. now, on my first day in office. -- on my first day in office i said sild close guantanamo bay. is it closed yet? no. i said we would be out of iraq? are we? not the last time i checked.
2:30 pm
i said i would make improvements in the war in afghanistan. is it better? no, i think it's actually worse. how about health care reform? hell no. >> does the biting satire, rachel maddow have a point? as it raises the question has the president brought the change that he promised? >> the idea that the wars that bush and cheney started that they didn't win, he hasn't been able to wrap new less than a year? it's true you can make great satire of that. >> a lot of people on the left have been critical about the wars and other things that have not yet been accomplished. >> sure. i've been probably among the most critical, but even i didn't expect it to be done by now. >> the reason that bit is funny is because it's true. the honeymoon is over. they had tremendous expectations going in. that's the hangover of any campaign where you make huge promises.
2:31 pm
now reality has hit. domestic policy with the economy and health care and afghanistan and everything else. >> government is hard. promise topg close guantanamo, it's actually hard to close it. they can promise to employ sanctions on iran. it's actually hard to do. a lot of ways they're continuing the second term bush foreign policy. >> we do that week after week to any president of the united states. and the fact is they are going to get a health care bill at the end of the year. what was missing from that list that's real lay problem for them is the economic situation where on the one hand, they can argue and i think they're right that they helped keep us from falling off a cliff. that's a good thing. but 9.8% unemployment is not such a good thing. once they get a health care bill, which i think they will is a lot more attention to doing something about jobs.
2:32 pm
>> i think you should be a television producer. you couldn't set me up more than you did. >> the news, of course, that the unemployment has hit its highest level in 26 years. here's the wau"the wall street " journal." look at this chart since the recession began, december '07, now at 9.8%, expected to go to 10% before too long. vice president biden who has been behind the stimulus efforts in in the economic recovery. >> it's not a straight line to recovery. we are recovering, we will recover. >> we are recovering, we will recover. which is it? >> we're not getting jobs. when the stimulus package
2:33 pm
passed, the white house put out a chart of what the country would look like if it passed? and the unemployment rate. at this point we're about 9.8. the fundamental problem is for 30 years we went on a spending binge. there's no magic elixir. the economy has to come back to some sustainable level of debt and there's just nothing we can do to make that hangover easier. >> the crisis that started where that graphic started in december '07 we didn't get there because of big government spending. we got there because of a collapse of the financial system brought on in large part by bad regulatory decisions. you can make a lot of arguments about how it happened but that's part of it. it's not just spending. it may be that spending is identified by you as part of the problem here, but i think it's a
2:34 pm
great -- there's a great argument that it's definitely the solution, too. when e.j. says they may not call it into a second stimulus, i think you're right. but fiscal policy is going to be important to getting back to rational levels. >> where is the money going to come from? the money is just not there. they will wrap some of this into a transportation bill, but the money is just not there. i find no hunger for a second stimulus absolutely. it's not federal spending that got us into this mess. it's private debt, credit card debt. it's a fundamental societal problem. we can try to change the sort of fizz of private debt for public debt but it's not going to get us out of this problem. >> that's also the question. should there be a focus on relieving the debt, reducing the debt, or should, as a lot of more liberal economists are saying you've got to keep priming the pump if you're going to do something specifically about jobs.
2:35 pm
i don't think out of control spending is created by bipartisan out of control spending. the kitchen table politics that are going to rule the midterm elerks, the obama stimulus trat ji, the type of methods he used to inject money into the economy, kind of taking a big curve through the spending of the democratic interest groups has been a failure. perceptions, reality and politic, and we're heing towards a bad midterm for the democrat which is is going to change a lot of these politics and i think there will be a backlash. >> people know one thing. the banks got bailed out. they seem to be doing better but people are still out of their skbrons. >> there are people who think the banks got a lot more money than they did. that's always a problem when you're a democrat in power. and that started under bush. but he's not talking about government. he's saying the system itself didn't work because we assume lated ul this debt. we ought to be smart enough as a country to say you do things
2:36 pm
sequentially. when you are in a hole economically, you need to dig out. that's a time you need government. there's a time later to bring spending into balance. i think what obama is going to do is try to lay out a vision in the short term we've got to get people back to work. let me show you interesting numbers. 17%, that's the broad unemployment rate which includes people working part time who can't get a full-time job. 64,000, the number of construction jobs lost in september. is the government doing a good job of sell iing it? >> he's tried at the end of the
2:37 pm
health care speech. there's more work that needs to be done. employers aren't going to hire more people until they give the people they have more hours. >> they promised to bring unemployment rates down to 7. >> it was a five-year spending spree. >> the problem could be we could just pump money into the economy. people are scaling back. we can pump money in, but people want to get their balance sheets balanced. you're going to have a small multiplier effect. that just could be our situation. >> there's ways to put that
2:38 pm
money into the economy a lot faster than the plan did. if he lived up to the campaign rhetoric, he could have had a payroll day on politics. >> really? republicans would be willing to go along with that? >> the real problem is in making a deal with some republicans, they cut aids to states. what's helping pull this back. states are raising taxes. you need a lot more. >> if there's a bumper sticker to be found, you could probably find it on twitter. 140 characters or less. here, the president goes this week, makes the personaled by to get the olympics to chicago. he doesn't get it, despite the personal appeal. and there on twitter is former house speaker newt gingrich, and he posts this, he says -- president obama fails to get the olympics while unemployment goes to 9.8%.
2:39 pm
iran continues nuclear program. while you were away there was some bad news. aun unfortunate fact for the president. >> the unseemly cheering on the right for losing theed by is going to live a bad taste in mouth farce bit. chicago loses, chicago loses, cheers erupt at "weekly standard" headquarters i think says a lot more about the right right now than it does about this loss. in 2012, london got the olympics after blair tried for them in in 2016, all four finalists sent their head of state. obama didn't do anything unreasonable. for them to be cheering the loss on the right is disgusting. >> there are two biggish sures here. the president looks we s weak,
2:40 pm
bad politics for him. but there's a second one. i think valley jarrett is running the white house. you don't send the president across the world for something you don't know the outcome. >> when obama went, i would say most senators thought oh, we got it in the bag. there's no way he would possibly go unless we had it. st i have to say, i'm with obama on this. he took a risk. he comes away somewhat humiliated. he took the risk for his town and country. he lost one. i actually don't mind it. i think he was all right on this. >> i think rachel is right on the issue of the right cheering. john mccain's slogan was country first. in this case, it was obama's hatred on the right. but one of the things that went wrong here is that our olympics committee, the chicago olympics committee counted the votes completely wrong. people on that olympics
2:41 pm
committee seemed to lie even more than they did in congressional leadership races. i'm told, if you go, we got it in the bag. boy were they wrong about that. >> i think that's the problem with chicago. in those days they could steal any election. >> i don't like the fact that the white house or the staff -- the professional staff is ignored here and gets rolled by theed administer of sports. that bothers me. >> everybody in the finals sent a head of government or head of state. the last two olympics -- >> you don't paut president in the that position. >> sure, and tell the spaniard that he's second rate. >> king carlos knows deep down. >> i'm sure. >> that's the difference between the republican and the democratic world. >> you are huge in spain right now. >> it would have been a shock if obama didn't try for it and it would have been a shock if chicago won. >> i want to get to something that's playing out here in our
2:42 pm
conversation that i think is significant. the left-right divide in our politics as sharp as it's ever been. last week, i skber viewed bill clinton and asked if ethought the right-wing conspiracy is alive and well, he says you bet it is. we have this week tom friedman writing in the new york times that the political environment is one in this violence is possible, and n the way that there was in israel before rabin was assassinated. we have this on the house floor in the health care debate, alan grayson in florida saying this about republicans. >> the republican health care plan is this -- die quickly. that's right. the republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick. >> perspective peggy noonan writing there's a level of shrillness in the debate that's not helping america. what's the significance of the left-right divide in the country
2:43 pm
right now. and what's the end game on both sides. >> i think we always lament the sharpness of our partisan divide. i think there's ever a time we felt very kumbayah between left and right, except for bad reasons because the koun industry facing adversity. i think the left-right fight is healthy. as liberal i want the republican party to be robust and participating in a strong argument that advances the country's interest. >> is it a pox on both houses, grayson, a congressman from south carolina? >> democrats were, like, wow, a carotid it. this follows republican members -- >> the death of the uninsured americans as a holocaust. >> he apologized for the holocaust. i pressed him to apologize for that comment on my show. but this year we've heard
2:44 pm
republicans say the plan is to drop dead, that it's to kill senior citizens. that's normal for republicans right now. nobody demanded jenny brown apologize. >> this is a media circus. if you're trying to build an audience for your talk radio show, this works. this solidifies the audience. it's not where the country is. we have more independents than democrats or republicans. even on the republican side, we have frankly i consider harmful for america, glenn beck, rush limbaugh. they don't control the republican party. they were all against john mccain in south carolina in the last primary season. and john mccain won the south carolina primary. these talk radio guys couldn't control republican voters in primaries in south carolina. they have actually no power over real americans. it's a media circus. most americans are where they've always been, sort of center right independence. >> what's happening is we've created -- there's kind of a freak showbizness now of each side.
2:45 pm
which amplifies the shrill voices. we have one-party cable networks now, one of each. everything is by noise, by hot language, and by anecdotes. you know, so facts and more complicated debate is pushed out because it's not loud and colorful enough. >> show that a one-party network? >> i would take your prime time and fox prime time and say it is kind of the same dance toward the dumbing of the base. >> you know, i think that the media does play a role in the wacky part of this. there's a good left-right debate to be had. a lot of bad things will happen to people over time. when grayson goes on the floor, suddenly he gets that point across, because that's what the media covers. david price, democratic congressman from north carolina told me, he had 1,000 people in
2:46 pm
durham, real good town hall meeting, real debate. but it didn't blow up. a tv producer told him if your meeting doesn't blow up, it doesn't get on television. i think if we're going to bemoan a certain kind of harshness, we have to ask ourselves, what gets reported? and does it take alan grayson to make a substantive point about health sdm health care. >> we've always covered conflict. it may be worse now because we've got low stakes cable shows. you can call that dumb if you want, but it happens to be the press has always followed conflict. but there is real influence. there is real political influence to take you on, david. when we talk about a someone. sarah palin's new book is coming out, "going rogue mpt : an amer life." >> which part of sarah palin's
2:47 pm
book are you looking most forward to reading? >> the part i'm looking forward to most is the part where it energized our campaign and it put us -- her selection put us ahead in the polls. the part i'm looking forward to least is some of the disagreements that took place within the campaign. >> the master of subtlety. >> but the issue of influence, whether the harshness of the debate becomes what controls the politics and ultimately influences who emerges to the top oa political party is still a question to republicans. >> the people who vote in primary, who are hard core people, they don't go for that.
2:48 pm
if sarah pay slin the republican nominee, i'll heat my hat. she will not be. >> i think she has talent bus my honest view is she woumd not be a candidate for the party in 2012. and, in fact, if she were to be is the nominee, it would have a catastrophic result. >> i think it would be wonderful if the republican party nominated sarah palin. it would be an interesting test. does this kind of far right politics work? unfortunately for the democrats, i agree, the republicans aren't going to nominate sarah palin. >> i should point out, number one on the best seller list. >> she'll never be the nominee. i totally agree.
2:49 pm
these radio guys can't deliver a pizza, let alone a nomination. and you can case study that out in the last election. so the question is, whether or not our party will learn, we have a pretty good midterm victory due to obama's mistakes this time. turning up the volume is not the reason we're going to do well in the midterms and there are a lot of things we have to do to modernize conservatism to be successful. >> i do think there's a little reckoning that has to happen on the right for success. she is going to sell also gazillion books and she's the biggest brand name in republican politics right now. and the person she chose to write her book, the last person she co-authored a book with is
2:50 pm
called "donkey kongs." i believe he's a white supremist. so she's chosen him and she's the biggest name in republican politics. i do think the right needs to sort of answer for what's happened to con serve tichl. -- conservatism. >> that's guilt by association. that's the cable stuff. that's the problem. she's a lot of things but she's a white supremist. >> when you can pick anybody, why would she pick somebody who's associated with the league of the south. americans are revolted by the idea of having a black sister-in-law. this is who she picked to write her book. why would you do that? >> that guilt by associate stuff, i don't know. >> it's not important to the central questions of the country right now. >> the governor may win over a
2:51 pm
republican primary because he talked about secession. you haven't had someone win on a secession since 1858. it's not guilt by association. >> that one line which you're deducing a complete definition is not the reason he's going to win. >> the debate will go on. thank you all very much. we're going to continue our discussion with mike and rachel. questions our viewers submitted via e-mail and twitter. this afternoon on our website, let's look for updates for me throughout the week. up next, our "meet the press minute." remembering new york times columnist and long-time "meet the press" analyst william safire. for something quite different. small polish farms had difficulty getting... affordable feed for their smaller herds of animals.
2:52 pm
so cargill created a way to bring the feed... directly to them... on musical delivery trucks, selling a few bags per visit. ( dog barks, horse neighs ) keeping the small farmers competitive, and their animals happier. this is how cargill works with customers. how can you get your retirement plans back on track? consider oppenheimerfunds, whether the markets are up or down, we follow a consistent investment approach. ask your advisor about oppenheimerfunds. and see how our numbers can help you reach your destination. call your advisor for a prospectus with complete fund information. read it carefully and carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. mutual funds are subject to market risk and volatility. shares may lose or gain value. oppenheimerfunds. the right way to invest.
2:53 pm
2:54 pm
2:55 pm
political columnist wil >> william safire cently died. he was one of our favorites. here he was in january 1996 to talk about one of his most famous columns. >> in this column, the man bill clinton would like to punch in the nose, bill safire. let's show the viewers the week you had. first, you said the first lady was a congenital liar. the white house then responded by saying the white house says president would like to punch safire. the "new york post" did a tale of the tape. did you have any pause when you write first lady hilly clinton, congenital liar. did you think, am i crossing the line of civility. should i really be using those kinds of words? >> well, frankly the first word
2:56 pm
i had in mind was pu purveayorcator, which means liar. then i thought why can't i express my opinion with a simple english word that everybody understands. i decided to go ahead and do it. >> if you walk outside and there's a white house operative, i have something to make sure -- good luck to you, buddy. >> boxing gloves. >> william safire and our family are with us in our thoughts and prayers. progressive.
2:57 pm
2:58 pm
2:59 pm
call or click today. thanks for watching. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."